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Sheffields Strongman Samson


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I'm looking for information about my g/grandfather's career as Strongman Samson before and after WW1. His name was Edmond Skinner and he lived at 115 Farfield Road, then 322 Edmund Road, then 269 Gleadless Road. Presumably he worked the music halls, the family had until a few years ago, a promotional postcard with his picture on (now lost - we guess one of the kids 'borrowed' it). There have been many 'Samson the Strongman' acts ( Alexander Zass (invented isometrics), Eugene Sandow (created Institute of Physical Culture), a jewel thief in London, and of course the original associated with Delilah) - he was not any of these.

Edmond volunteered for army service on 5th September 1914 at St Marys, Bramall Lane and gave his occupation as 'Physical Culture Expert' , but by 26th September he had been discharged on medical grounds - I'm guessing due to the side effects of his day job as a fork filer, though by 1919 he had eyesight and varicose veins listed as problems. This must have been extremely embarrassing for him in view of his athletic abilities. However on 3rd October 1914 he re-enlisted at Attercliffe giving his occupation as Labourer. He answered question 13 on the attestation form "have you ever been rejected as unfit for the Military..." not altogether truthfully as 'No'. He served initially as a (horse) driver, then as a telephone operator, latterly at the Astoria Hotel in Paris, one of the venues for the Peace Conference.

A possible clue is that after his wife died in 1916 he arranged for recently widowed Caroline Elmer from Edmonton to move to Sheffield to look after his children, and married her in 1919. Edmonton had a prestigious Empire Music Hall, so possibly he met her on his travels as a Strongman and worked for the Moss Empire organisation.

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Other than he lived at 332 Edmund Road in 1911 (Census request please), and that he has been transcribed as "Edmund" not "Edmond" I've drawn a blank, but I have looked.

I'm looking for information about my g/grandfather's career as Strongman Samson before and after WW1. His name was Edmond Skinner and he lived at 115 Farfield Road, then 322 Edmund Road, then 269 Gleadless Road. Presumably he worked the music halls, the family had until a few years ago, a promotional postcard with his picture on (now lost - we guess one of the kids 'borrowed' it). There have been many 'Samson the Strongman' acts ( Alexander Zass (invented isometrics), Eugene Sandow (created Institute of Physical Culture), a jewel thief in London, and of course the original associated with Delilah) - he was not any of these.

Edmond volunteered for army service on 5th September 1914 at St Marys, Bramall Lane and gave his occupation as 'Physical Culture Expert' , but by 26th September he had been discharged on medical grounds - I'm guessing due to the side effects of his day job as a fork filer, though by 1919 he had eyesight and varicose veins listed as problems. This must have been extremely embarrassing for him in view of his athletic abilities. However on 3rd October 1914 he re-enlisted at Attercliffe giving his occupation as Labourer. He answered question 13 on the attestation form "have you ever been rejected as unfit for the Military..." not altogether truthfully as 'No'. He served initially as a (horse) driver, then as a telephone operator, latterly at the Astoria Hotel in Paris, one of the venues for the Peace Conference.

A possible clue is that after his wife died in 1916 he arranged for recently widowed Caroline Elmer from Edmonton to move to Sheffield to look after his children, and married her in 1919. Edmonton had a prestigious Empire Music Hall, so possibly he met her on his travels as a Strongman and worked for the Moss Empire organisation.

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I'm looking for information about my g/grandfather's career as Strongman Samson before and after WW1. His name was Edmond Skinner and he lived at 115 Farfield Road, then 322 Edmund Road, then 269 Gleadless Road. Presumably he worked the music halls, the family had until a few years ago, a promotional postcard with his picture on (now lost - we guess one of the kids 'borrowed' it). There have been many 'Samson the Strongman' acts ( Alexander Zass (invented isometrics), Eugene Sandow (created Institute of Physical Culture), a jewel thief in London, and of course the original associated with Delilah) - he was not any of these.

Did he work the music halls or did he work in fairs / circus ?

An act like this at the turn of last century (19th - 20th) would be the sort of thing that would be seen in fairs, travelling fairs and circuses.

It may be worth checking him out at the National Fairground Archive, which incidentally is based at Sheffield University, just in case

There website can be found using this link

http://www.nfa.dept.shef.ac.uk/

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Other than he lived at 332 Edmund Road in 1911 (Census request please), and that he has been transcribed as "Edmund" not "Edmond" I've drawn a blank, but I have looked.

There you go!

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Have you seen these - from Sheffield Indexers School Records

Skinner, Arthur (Student, dob 17 Mar 1900).

Parent or guardian name(s): Edmund (~), of 269 Gleadless Rd.

Admitted to Heeley Bank Boys School, Heeley, as of 20 Oct 1913,

until 20 Feb 1914, reason for leaving: Exempt. Previously attended Duchess Rd.

Skinner, Ida (Student, dob 01 Nov 1902).

Parent or guardian name(s): Skinner, Edmund (~), of 269 Gleadless Rd.

Admitted to Heeley Bank Girls School, Heeley, as of 29 Nov 1915,

until 31 Mar 1916, reason for leaving: Left city. Previously attended Norton Lees.

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Whilst nosing about I noticed a series of marriages for Edmond Skinners in Sheffield - these aren't all the same man?

All spelt EdmOnd

1899 married Norah Crooks

1919 m Caroline Elmer

1930 m Grace Ryalls

1938 m Joan Bennett

1946 m Alice Jones

died June 1950

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Busy man !

Whilst nosing about I noticed a series of marriages for Edmond Skinners in Sheffield - these aren't all the same man?

All spent EdmOnd

1899 married Norah Crooks

1919 m Caroline Elmer

1930 m Grace Ryalls

1938 m Joan Bennett

1946 m Alice Jones

died June 1950

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Top notch work !

Have you seen these - from Sheffield Indexers School Records

Skinner, Arthur (Student, dob 17 Mar 1900).

Parent or guardian name(s): Edmund (~), of 269 Gleadless Rd.

Admitted to Heeley Bank Boys School, Heeley, as of 20 Oct 1913,

until 20 Feb 1914, reason for leaving: Exempt. Previously attended Duchess Rd.

Skinner, Ida (Student, dob 01 Nov 1902).

Parent or guardian name(s): Skinner, Edmund (~), of 269 Gleadless Rd.

Admitted to Heeley Bank Girls School, Heeley, as of 29 Nov 1915,

until 31 Mar 1916, reason for leaving: Left city. Previously attended Norton Lees.

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Edmond's marriages were Norah, Caroline and Joan - himself and Joan in the photo attached.

His son, Edmond, married Grace then Alice, before dying in 1950.

His grandson, Edmond, is currently alive and well and living in Australia - and remembers visiting his grandfather at Ellin Street and Fawcett Street, and being impressed by the old man's lifting weights stored under the sideboard.

New info being turned up (thanks!) - though still nothing on the show business side.

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If it isn't private please keep us updated - we like to see things progress.

Edmond's marriages were Norah, Caroline and Joan - himself and Joan in the photo attached.

His son, Edmond, married Grace then Alice, before dying in 1950.

His grandson, Edmond, is currently alive and well and living in Australia - and remembers visiting his grandfather at Ellin Street and Fawcett Street, and being impressed by the old man's lifting weights stored under the sideboard.

New info being turned up (thanks!) - though still nothing on the show business side.

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An update on a ten year old query. 

Through SheffieldHistory I've now met a second cousin, who shares Edmond Skinner as a great grandfather. He's been able to give me a copy of a promotional postcard from 1927 when Edmond was 50 years old.  I've attached it below, together with a newspaper article that explains his feat of strength.

2046579236_EdmondSamson.jpg.a8cfa2144f667aa02b80a7aaeeef1b2a.jpg

1764703716_samson1927.png.2bd6f203b24809a9c37d5dc5680de8c3.png

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